Sunday Photo; Tapsa

This week’s photo is of Tapsa (the Pagoda Temple), tucked between the Horse Ear Mountains, in Northern Jeolla province. It’s been one of my favorite places to visit in Korea, not only for the temple, but for the entire ethereal surroundings.



11 thoughts on “Sunday Photo; Tapsa”

  1. The Buddhist mystic, Yi Kap Myoung, spent the later half of his 97 years on earth piling his stone pagodas and translating Zen in the Orphic-Eaves-Droppings of Korea’s great auscultators. Most of the pagodas are still standing, over 60 years later. The two large ones, just behind the temple, are more than 15 meters tall. There isn’t much information available about him in English, but I read in one of the pamphlets that he spent an entire year sustaining himself from pine needles, apparently not a particularly rare practice during mountain retreats. One of the intriguing mysteries of the place is, if you place an offering bowl of water out on a cold winter morning, an icicle will grow up out of the bowl, pointing to the mountains.

    The crowds of tourists who gather by noon can put a heavy mute of the atmosphere of the place, but I’ve learned to sleep at one of the local guest houses and head to the temple at sunrise to experience the environment on a more intimate level. One morning, as I approached, the sky began to darken rather than do what it usually does as the sun comes up. Bolts of lightening began cracking around me and I ran to the temple for shelter (or should I say refuge??). As rain poured down and thunder echoed between the hills, it was perhaps one of the most intimate experiences I’ve had within a temple. The rains create a small waterfall beside the temple and millions of drops dripped down from the concave cliff. When the rains stopped, a monk came in to wipe up the puddles. He asked me if I’d like some breakfast but, though I was hungry, I was too timid to accept his offer. Maybe now my answer would be different but I probably missed a pleasant and interesting experience back then…

  2. “ran for refuge” – isn’t it how it often happens, the thunderstorms of life makes you come to spiritual refuge.

    Ever thought of writing a book with stories (and photos)like that ?

  3. reminds me on Milarepa…
    but fortunately these are still standing!

    ok, and now i ask my stupid question that spontaneously came into my mind when i saw the picture: h o w did he fix the stones?? (don’t laugh!)

      1. Really?
        To imagine him as a let’s say 90-year-old with a bucket of whatsoever plaster to the fragile tops of these pagodas is in almost the same manner unthinkable as that he might have fixed them with spit…

        Joseph, i love your SundayPhoto-serial! rather inspiring!

        Thank you Sunim and Joseph:)

    1. Hi Evelyn, sorry for not responding until now… I was away with my family for the past week.

      Chong Go Sunim answered as well as I could have, anyway.

      The only other answer I can offer is that I suppose that he was a very well balanced human being! ^^

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